AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR POLISH CULTUREEight winners of the 22nd annual $5,000 Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski Scholarships were announced recently by the ACPC's Pulaski Scholarship for Advanced Studies Committee. Many applications (24) were received this year. The scholarship program was initiated 22 years ago as a result of a sizeable endowment by the Conrad R. Walas family with the continuing support from Polonia.
$5,000 PULASKI SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS
Serving on the 2022 Pulaski Scholarship Committee are Dr. Stephen E. Medvec, Chairman; Deborah M. Majka; Carolyn Meleski and Peter J. Obst.
The exceptional qualities of schoolwork and research plus dedicated community services performed by the applicants made the final selection process very difficult. The Committee felt that most of the applicants deserved recognition for their outstanding achievements and honestly wished that funding was available which could have allowed for several more scholarship awards.
The Pulaski Scholarships Committee wishes these eight outstanding students continuing success and is confident that they will attain their career objectives fully. The Committee trusts that they will honor their heritage by ultimately remaining close to the Polish community wherever possible during their careers.
The Pulaski Committee selected the following students for the 2022 Pulaski Scholarships for Advanced Studies grants of $5,000 each:
Patrycja Budzyk - A native of Chicago, Illinois, Patrycja has her BS in Rehabilitation Sciences and a minor in Polish from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She is at present completing her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, expected in July 2022, from UIC, then intends to remain at UIC in order to pursue her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Since her childhood, Patrycja has very much favored the field of healthcare. She states, "I saw compassion and empathy provided to my family by many healthcare professionals." She chose a career in Occupational Therapy to give individuals the opportunity in putting the "fun in functionality," just as her mother was given the opportunity through her occupational therapist when diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer. During the Summer of 2018, Patrycja studied abroad at the Jagiellonian University and also volunteered at the Angloville English Summer Camp in Zakliczyn, Poland where she mentored and immersed young adults, ages 8-18, in learning the English language.
Claudia Cheffs - A native of Los Angeles, California, Claudia has a BA in Political Science with a minor in Conflict Resolution and a Certificate in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California, Irvine. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Education with an emphasis on Educational Leadership at the University of California, Los Angeles, expected in June 2023. Claudia works as Department Administrator in the Political Science Department at UC Irvine. She is a native speaker of English, fluent in Polish, and a beginner in both French and Spanish. She has been invited to the Department of Justice, the World Bank, the Department of State, and the CIA. She has traveled in London, Moscow, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey, Armenia and Georgia. In 2014, Claudia interviewed Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski as regards Russia's occupation of Crimea.
Monika Chojnacki - A native of Webster, Massachusetts, Monika holds a BS in Architecture from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. She also studied in Rome in Spring 2010 through the CUA Architecture Abroad Program and at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow during the Spring of 2013. At present, Monika is completing her Masters in Historic Preservation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, anticipated in Spring 2023. She is the author of "River Monsters of Webster, Massachusetts: How They Were Born, Lived and Died. A Short History of the Textile Revolution." Monika also has conducted volunteer work in Peru, Poland, Japan, India and Panama. She is fluent in English and Polish, proficient in Spanish.
Veronica Kalicki - A native of Lyons, Illinois, Veronica has her BS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2020) and is pursuing on-line studies for her Masters in Data Science from the University of Texas in Austin. At present, she is concurrently a full-time candidate for Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, anticipated for May 2025. She wrote that "Academics are the way to secure a better and brighter future." Her research concentrates on the "Morse-Bott Theory on the moduli space of Higgs monopoles and the computation of its Betti numbers." This deals with a pair whose connections are reducible to fixed points of the circle action. Veronica also is a recipient of the Kosciuszko Foundation Scholarship for Ph.D. studies, Fall 2021 to Spring 2022. She is a member of the Saint Mary of Czestochowa Parish in Cicero, Illinois.
Veronika Koziel - A native of Syosset, New York, Veronika holds her BS in Industrial and Labor Relations with a minor in Italian from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She also studied in Italy and in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in New York City, concentrating in Economic and Political Development, expected in May 2023. At Columbia University, she has taken coursework on topics such as Nonprofit Financial Management, Financial Inclusion: Models and Products to Enhance Financial Access for the Poor, and Politics of Policymaking. She is also a member of the Columbia Impact Investing Initiative, SIPA Sustainability Business Working Group (SBWG), and the International House (I-House) in New York City. Veronika is passionate about workplace conditions, human rights, and social responsibility. In the long term, she is interested in a career focusing on international labor, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility, particularly in industries with complex global supply chains.
Emilia Mikrut - A native of New York City born to parents who emigrated from Poland, Emilia holds a BA in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies (Summa Cum Laude) from Hunter College, City University of New York, and an MA in Clinical Psychology from St. John's University in Queens, New York. At present, she is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Clinical Psychology program at St. John's University. Broadly, her research focuses on understanding the effects of social determinants of health on psychological, behavioral, and medical outcomes. Emilia collaborates with physicians to conduct retrospective medical record studies, performance improvement projects, and large-scale initiatives that aim to understand and ameliorate health disparities among vulnerable populations. She is widely published, with articles on a range of topics from cancer caregiving to the psychological consequences of interpersonal discrimination. As a training clinician, Emilia also provides clinical services to a diverse set of patients across the New York City area.
Wojciech Piwowarczyk - A resident of Garfield, New Jersey, Wojciech hold a BS in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. He has studied in the Polish-language school, a recipient of the Kosciuszko Foundation Tuition Scholarship in 2020-2021, and a member of the Men's Soccer Team at FDU, including having been captain of the NCAA Tournament Team in 2019. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Physical Therapy, expected in 2023, at the School of Health Professions, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has personally contacted Senator Cory Booker and Congressman William Pascrell to shed light on the devastating cuts to physical therapy patients (9 percent reduction to PT services in Medicare). Wojciech is a devoted Roman Catholic at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Passaic, New Jersey. He wishes to assist the Polish community in its PT needs, including scoliosis.
Evangelista Schmarder - A native of Buffalo, New York, Evangelista has Polish roots going back to her great-great-grandparents. She holds her Bachelor of Music in Music Education from from the State University of New York at Fredonia and is pursuing her Master of Music Education at The State University of New York at Fredonia, anticipated in January 2023. A percussionist throughout her college career, Evangelista has been both a student and a teacher to elementary students in drum set, snare, mallets, and voice. She blends music and costumes of African American and Polish American children. She also teaches Spanish and is active in St. Luke's Ministry of Mercy in Buffalo, New York. She also has suffered two major concussions.
The Pulaski Scholarships for Advanced Studies Committee wishes these eight outstanding students continuing success and is confident that they will attain their career objectives fully. The Committee trusts that they will honor their heritage by ultimately remaining close to the Polish community wherever possible during their careers.